Life in Belen

Life in Belen

Let’s talk about, in this blog post, what has happened in Belen, Peru over the last one and a half years.

The purpose of this blog post is to tell a story about the last one and a half years in Belen, Peru. A lot has happened. During the winter & spring of 2012, Belen had a flood of a proportion that nobody had ever seen before. Belen is built on floodplains. This means that, six months out of every year, this community is under water.

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Each year, it is expected that the floodwaters will go up to a certain height and then recede. However, two years ago, a catastrophic flood prevented everyone from living normal lives

This floodwater receded, and finally people could re-build their homes damaged by the flood. The dry season and the flood season a very different- the dry season is quite dry

About… and a normal flood season is very flooded

On December 20, 2014, a little girl, 5-years-old, was playing near a gas container (which powers a stove). The container exploded suddenly, and the girl passed away. But because there is no fire department due to extreme poverty, nobody knew how to put this fire out except if they were to run to the river with buckets.

One home caught fire, and then the next and the next. People watched their homes and possessions burn to the ground. In total, 170 homes burned down.

The irony of this situation is that, in just two weeks, the floodwaters began to creep in.

What was so difficult to obtain (water from the river) two weeks ago was now making it impossible to rebuild this community. People were forced to live in a crowded displacement camp. In the first four weeks, three people died of TB, and slept and suffered in “beds” that were placed close to other families, including babies and children.

The CHC wanted to help. After all, this community lived a short walk from the Belen Clinic. So, we packed up our supplies and medicines, and set up a mobile clinic in the displacement camp to give free primary care and dental work to 180 displaced persons who showed up with all manner of problems ranging from infections to coughs to extreme fever, muscle aches and mental health issues (for which, with partners, we offered therapy care). Thanks to a group of medical and non-medically-trained volunteers, doctors, donated medications, supplies purchased through donations and other professional support, we were able to fill over 500 prescriptions and cover the costs of care at a rate of about $12 per patient.
It was a rewarding time for all involved, and we look forward to going back in June.
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